2018 is proving to be a standout year for Jovan Adepo who made his first studio feature film debut opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the award-winning film “Fences.” Since then, the young actor has starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in Darren Aronofsky’s feature “Mother,” and had roles in “Sorry for Your Loss,” HBO’s “The Leftovers” and Season Two of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”
In his latest role, the Afro-British actor who can also be seen in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Netflix series “Central Park Five” plays the lead role of U.S. Army Pvt. Boyce and is part of a team of American paratroopers who invade Nazi-occupied France to carry out a mission.
“They are given a mission to drop into this French village and to take out an element of the German military, but are presented with another element of the military they didn’t except to encounter and they have to do their best to get the mission done,” shares Adepo who delivers an understated performance in this starring role.
Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a church, the desperate soldiers who range from terrified inductees to war-weary veterans, join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. But, in a mysterious Nazi lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies who are part of a human experiment and have extraordinary abilities.
A classic World War II movie meshed with a monster horror genre, it’s a thrilling, pulse-pounding action adventure with a twist. In the first half of the movie audiences are introduced to the various young soldiers which gives viewers a reason to care about the characters and develop some empathy for the soldiers who are presented as underdogs before the film takes a terrifying shift from military adventure to sci-fi horror. The intrinsically frightening nature and horrors of WWII combat certainly helps smooth the transition as it doesn’t feel like that much of a stretch when introduced to the fantastical elements.
“Many are seasoned soldiers,” continues Adepo, “and my character Boyce is trying to fit in where he can. When you first meet him, you’re not sure if he’s even capable of surviving the mission. Not because he’s physically unable to, but because he’s just cut from a different cloth than the others. That’s what makes him such an interesting character to follow and root for.”
Directed by Australian filmmaker Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams (“10 Cloverfield Lane“), one would certainly expect a film about American World War II soldiers to feature a white cast, but for Abrams, populating the film with a diverse cast was important as it allowed the production to cast a wider net in search of the best actors for the roles such as Adepo.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of it was something that I took very seriously,” adds the actor. “From day one when I came down to read the script and audition for it, I wanted to do the best job that I could and put my best foot forward for the biggest thing I enjoy about a J.J. Abrams movie is the surprise element. They have very interesting stories and complex characters. It was an opportunity I wasn’t going to let slip from my hands.”
A men-on-a-mission movie, “Overlord is a wildly entertaining World War II movie with some humor sprinkled in along with emotion and sentiment.
“It is a story about humanity. It’s about the preservation of humanity and verdict of the underdog and with two very specific genres that have been seamlessly meshed. People will go in not knowing quite what to expect. It is very much an action adventure but there are lot of things that can and will go wrong in this mission.”
“Overlord” releases in theaters Friday. Check out the trailer below:
Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles. Film photos courtesy Paramount Pictures